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MTV/Black Entertainment Television - HIV

Company: Viacom
    View Company Scorecard | Contact Company
Brand: MTV/Black Entertainment Television
Ad Title: HIV
Business Category: Public Service Announcements
Media Outlets: Television
Country: United States
Region: North America
Agency: Public Interest Productions/Radical Media
Year: 2002
Target: Gays
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This "Protect Yourself" HIV awareness campaign, particularly targeted toward people of color and gays, ran on both MTV and BET, the Black Entertainment Network, and was directed by openly gay star director Joel Schumacher ("Batman and Robin" and "Flawless".)

A group of men are gathered in a support group talking about their situations.

"I just assumed he'd be flipped out. And he was like, 'Well I think I might be HIV-positive because I just got tested and haven't heard about the results yet, so you should worry.' "

Another says, "I decided to have sex with that person, and I decided to put myself at risk, so I immediately went to try to take care of it, try to go get tested...

The final man says, "And when it came out negative, I was just like, from that point on, 'Never again will I ever put myself in any type of risk.' "

Narration ends by saying, "Know your status. To find a local testing center near you, call 1-888-Be-Safe-1."

This spot is important for many reasons, especially because communities of color often deny the existence of gays among them, dismissing homosexuality as a "white man's problem." It cleverly never uses the word "gay" because many men who have sex with men do not identify with the word, it simply shows average men discussing the results of their experiences.

Brian Graden, the openly gay president of entertainment for MTV and VH1 told a New York gay paper, "We feel like we have to (create such ads) because our demographic is mainly 18- to 24-year-olds, and that demographic is coming to terms with its sexuality and doesn't always have all the information they need."

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